Lessons during a Flip

The house

The house

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m in the middle of a house flip.  It’s my first flip, so I’m trying to run a very tight ship.  So far, I’ve posted about the good and the ugly.  On the good side, I have the potential to make my investors close to $7,000 and I have a chance to split $7,000 with my partner, which is awesome considering I only have to put in some time on the project.  How’s that song go — “Money for nothing and chicks for free”?  (On the really cool side, I might even have to buy a pneumatic paint sprayer…how cool would that be?)

Beyond the financial aspect of this project, this flip presents an incredible growth experience if I’m willing to grow with the project.  I will have to deal with other contractors (one has already been fired…not the best start), time constraints, financial constraints, outside investors, a partner, and the real estate market to name just a few potential issues.  Given these constraints it is easy to see how some business owners can become micromanagers.

I can easily see how people simply get fed up with seeming incompetence and insist on having their hands in every aspect of a project.  The fear of screwing up can be so great that only the original brains behind the project is capable of making the correct decisions.  It’s very easy to fall into this management trap.  Since working with my first contractor, I feel the micromanagement tug almost daily.

On this flip, I wanted to give my contractor friend a shot at the project.  I needed him to keep on task and execute the plan as given, not to think about other plans that may or may not be reasonable.  After my experience with my original contractor, there is a large part of me that simply wants to shut the door and keep my opportunities for myself.  Say “To hell with the world, I can do it better”.

If I were to do that, how much would I actually accomplish?  Probably not too much.

I work at least 40 hours per week, manage a few rentals, have an extremely active 16 month old, a couple of dogs (cats, one rabbit and multiple chickens) and a wife at home.  There isn’t too much time available to manage the project, let alone work on the project.  I need to be able to delegate responsibilities to others so I can get this project executed.

Since working with the first contractor, I want to turn off the phone and simply muscle through the work, completing it all on my own.  But I’ve done that already.  I know how that goes.  It’s not bad, actually kind of fun, but there are other things I want and need to do.  I have to grow to be able to happily delegate a significant portion of the work on this project.

I didn’t expect this flip to present me with the opportunity to learn some new leadership/management skills.  Part of me feels burned by the first contractor, though part of me also knew that firing the contractor was a distinct possibility when I hired him.  I was taking a risk by hiring the contractor, but I wanted to give him a shot.  My risk didn’t pan out, so I need to move on.  However, I need to move on while still remaining open to sharing this awesome opportunity (the flip).

Disappearing Act

Bathroom (Before)

Bathroom (Before)

Sunday marks the official end to the third week of the Philipsburg Phlip project.  During the second week of work, my contractor did a few things which caused me to question if he should remain on the job.  Over on BiggerPockets, some more knowledgeable people suggested I fire the contractor after the first infraction.  I still wanted to give the contractor the benefit-of-the-doubt, so I let him continue working this week.

(Note to self: Should have listened to the sages over on BP and fired the contractor after the first infraction)

However, I didn’t. I figured the contractor simply needed some more direction with more defined parameters from which to work.

I was wrong.

On Monday of this week, I had a discussion with the contractor regarding the bathroom on the 2nd floor.  My contractor has wanted to almost gut the entire room; I only wanted to remove and replace most of the major components.  Close to the end of our conversation, I said “Do not touch the plumbing or flooring until we’ve reviewed everything with my partner.  We’ll talk Tuesday evening about this issue.  Do not touch the plumbing.”  The contractor acknowledged this request.

Tuesday morning, I received a phone call from my contractor.  He had a few questions regarding some of the other work occurring this week.  At some point in the conversation, he let slip “well, you’ve got all the flexibility you want in that bathroom.”  To which I replied: “John*, I said we’re not touching that plumbing.”

He replied “Well, I figured it would be easier to replace it with plastic and people would rather plastic than cast [iron]. It only took me four or five hours yesterday [Monday] to remove the plumbing and flooring.”

Me: “John, you’re kidding right?”

John: “No, it was relatively easy, and its only going to take like two or three hours to put it all back and about $100 in materials.  It’ll add like $3,000 to the value of the house.”

Me: “No, it won’t add anything to the value of the house because no one really cares what is under the floor.  It will subtract from this flip’s profitability.  Don’t do anything else to the 2nd floor, finish the framing on the first floor and don’t plan on any more days this week until I get a chance to review the work.”  At this point, the room was nearly spinning around me.

So I was hemming and hawing about what I should do, and finally decided to fire the contractor and not pay him for the removal work and reduce his final check by the estimated amount of the repairs (time and materials).  This morning, I met with him to square up our accounts (I hadn’t seen the bathroom yet).  Strangely enough, John apologized for the ‘miscommunication’ regarding the bathroom.  Fair enough, but still not good enough to sway my mind.

A few other red-flags rose during our squaring of the books this morning.  Twice, John said “Well, I didn’t bill you for that tool.”  The second time, I finally replied, “John, you’re a contractor, you’re supposed to have tools.”  I was also accused of not knowing the price of gasoline because I refused to pay mileage to and from the job site each day.  I would have considered mileage if John had put in a good solid 4×10’s weeks for a minimum of 120 billable hours.  John only has about 80 billed hours over three weeks.  I reminded John that if he didn’t show up on site, he wouldn’t have work.

At the end of the meeting, John began to discuss work this coming week.  I stopped him and forced myself to look him in the eye and say “John, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I need to terminate this project.  This project is stressful enough for me that I don’t need to worry if you’re going to follow the plan.  I need to know you’re going to follow the plan and I am just unable to do so now.”

John vented at me for a while and I let him.  I know he’s in a very tight spot right now and I feel badly about that, but I need to protect 1) my investor’s money and 2) my own sanity.  John was, and I’m sure is, very upset.

After leaving my meeting with John, I headed up to assess the damage with my partner and formulate a new plan forward. When I got to the house, my partner asked me “How much did you ask John to remove?” I said “just the tile and backer board, why?  I know he removed all the drywall, but you already saw the bathroom since then.”  This is what I was expecting to see:

IMG_20140216_150048112

My partner replied: “Well, the bathroom is gone.”  I didn’t believe my partner, but this is what I saw:

My brother is a magician and I don’t think he could have done a better job at making something disappear.  (The pictures above are taken from almost the same position as the photo at the top of this post)

My partner and I are both contractors, so we were able to quickly formulate a new plan.  A little sweat equity on our parts will right this ship, but jeeze-oh-man, this is not how I wanted to start this flip.  I figured better to quickly cut ties with John then let the problems persist any longer.

As a learning experience, I should have 1) visited the site BEFORE I cut ties with John.  That would have allowed me to make a determination as to the extent of the damage, therefore how much to reduce the final paycheck to compensate for the damages and  2) Followed my gut on John’s abilities.  I wanted to believe he was capable of handling this project, but my gut was telling me to be VERY cautious.  My gut was right.

*not his real name

Lifetime Earnings?

I was recently reading the post “”Where Has All the Money Gone?” by Escaping Dodge.  The premise of the article is to go to My Social Security, determine how much I’ve earned in my lifetime, then compare that figure to my net worth (detailed in a future post).  The idea is to shock all of my generational cohorts into Financial Freedom Fighter mode, cutting out all unnecessary spending and preparing for Financial Independence.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to the My Social Security website.  I entered the necessary information and logged in.  The initial login page has some information about how much social security I would receive when I turn 67 (about $18,000/year !?!).  I then clicked to see my “Earnings Report”.  I braced myself to see a HUGE amount of earnings vs. not much net worth.

After adding all 15 or so years of work, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I have ‘only’ earned $338,828 through the 2012 tax season.  Nearly half of those earnings have occurred in the past three years (2010, 2011, 2012).  With the addition of 2013 taxes, that figure will be much closer to $390k in lifetime earnings.  My wife has been working the whole time we’ve been married, this number doesn’t include any of her earnings, but even still, I feel good for accomplishing all that we have accomplished on our earnings.

The article “Where Has All the Money Gone?” is meant to shock readers.  Readers are supposed to wonder how all their hard earned money has disappeared.  Based on my findings, I feel I’ve (just about) maximized my potential when compared to my earnings.  Obviously I could have trimmed my budgets in a few places (less Starbucks).

The article is too one sided.  Specifically the article does not ask: what experiences were gained with the money that wasn’t saved/invested?  Granted, many people trade money for things, not experiences.  Things break, wear out, get old, go out of style, etc.  Don’t buy things.

Experiences?  Sometimes the nuances of an experience get hazy around the edges, but generally an experience will stay with you for a lifetime.

Generally experiences are worth…experiencing.  Maybe I’m just getting older, but I was just thinking about one of the road trips my wife and I took.  We flew into San Francisco and over the course of three weeks, we drove from San Francisco to Yosemite, then north through Oregon to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.  I thought “We just did that a couple years ago”, then I looked at the date stamp…2006!  Eight years ago.  Time has flown.

I know you’re wondering how My Social Security’s lifetime earning’s report relates to my trip to California in 2006 it’s this: how do I quantify my road trip in California?  I still think the trip was last year.  I can still smell the bay trees in our camp ground; still feel the bone numbing ocean water; gaze in awe at a sequoia; hear the snuffling outside our tent in Crater Lake NP (my wife STILL swears it was a bear); taste San Francisco sour dough at the Ferry Building.  Is that experience worth an extra $3,000 in my bank account?  I say no.

Ask yourself this question: What is your fondest memory?  Time spent at work?  That thing you bought?  Probably not.  You probably answered: Holding my baby the first time; That great Christmas dinner; That time at the beach when she “lost the coffee but saved the boy”; Sitting next to that special someone thinking “I’m going to marry this person”.  The thread that runs through all of those answers: Not one of those experiences cares about your lifetime earnings from the Social Security Administration.

The reason I am driving for Financial Independence is so that I can have more experiences.  I realize it means I will probably have less stuff, but that is a trade off I am willing to make.  I would rather hike the AT with my dad, than buy a 2nd car.  I would rather watch my daughter’s face light up when she sees a buffalo in Yellow Stone for the first time, than put in an extra 80 hours at work for that bonus.

What do you want to experience?

 

I Just E-mailed my Congressman

424_426 Washington

 

This is the first duplex I ever purchased.  You wouldn’t know it, but the duplex resides in a FEMA flood zone.  According to the definitions I could find, during a 100-year event this property may experience ‘localized surface ponding’.  You would be forgiven if you didn’t know this was a flood zone.  I will admit, the property does slope down, away from where this picture was taken.  I can understand that the backyard may be in the flood zone.  I may get some water in the basement, but this street is not included in the flood zone.  All of the habitable portions of the house are non-flood areas.

The bank wants to protect it’s investment, so I am required to carry flood insurance on this property.  In 2012, Congress decided to not renew the federal subsidies on flood insurance, meaning rates will skyrocket.  While doing some research for this article, I saw some quoted rates of $87,500 to insure some properties, that’s just the annual premium!

In early January, I received a letter from my flood insurer informing me they were dropping my coverage, that I would have to get an official FEMA flood survey (~$1,000) and only then would my insurer reconsider my flood insurance.  I had a mild moment of panic, then frustration, then figured I would get in touch with Chad, my insurance guy (he’s an awesome guy.  Invited me over for beer at his farm; will probably take him up on it this year).

I asked Chad what I had to do to be in compliance.  He replied “Liam, this is probably really bad news” (note to insurance sales people: It’s QUITE distressing when you guys tell your clients it’s bad news.)  Chad then proceeded to tell me to wait and not panic (yet), because he heard the Senate was going to vote on the Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which would push off the rate increases for five years.

Over the weekend, I decided to see what had happened with the vote.  Well, I learned that the bill is sort of stalled in the House right now.  There are enough committed Representatives that the bill would pass, so long as the Speaker brings the bill up for a vote.  I was going to write to a Representative who is one of the sponsors on the bill, but then thought I should see what my Representative thought of the issue.

Apparently my Representative, Glenn “GT” Thompson, thinks it would be a good idea if the rate increases were pushed off for five years.  He also thinks there should be a vote, but he didn’t mention pushing to bring a vote to the floor.  (Note: I think it would be a great idea if the rate increases were pushed off for five years)

I decided to email my Representative and ask him for an update on the vote and when I could expect to know if I will need to spend $1,000 to survey my property as I would much prefer to not spend that $1,000 on a potentially meaningless flood survey.

Moving forward, I am only required to keep flood insurance for any portion of the building that has a loan.  I plan to pay off this loan as quickly as possible, dumping almost every spare cent to paying down this loan, so I’m not required to keep the flood insurance.  I know it would be a risk, but I am willing to take that risk so I don’t have to pay who knows how much to insure my property.

I’ll let you all know if I hear back from my Representative.

Analysis of a Flip

I recently started on an ambitious (for me) project.  I decided to reach out to some family friends and see if they wanted to partner on a house flip.  Essentially, we would buy a run down house, fix it up nicely and return it to market, making money by selling for more than we put into it.  The family friends put up the money (up to $50,000) and HBS will put in the head-scratching, project management stressing work.  I then decided to partner my share with my brother-in-law, who has much better carpentry skills than I do.  He’ll keep the project moving from a technical stand point.

My initial analysis is as follows:

Purchase Price: $23,000
Kitchen Cabinets: $1,725
Counter Tops: $6,480
Appliances: $1,350
Electrical Repairs: $1,000
1st Floor Refinish: $3,600
2nd Floor Carpeting: $1,500
Bathroom Update: $1,500
Painting: $750
Heating System: $1,000
Labor: $6,720
Contingency: $2,563

Total Investment: $53,188

Estimated sales price (conservative, ie. low): $72,590
Potential Profit: $19,403 before taxes, holding costs and closing costs
Holding Costs: -$2,150
Closing C0sts: -5,978
Net Profit: $11,275

With a 50/25/25 split, the investors stand to make $5,637.50 and my brother-in-law and I each stand to make $2,818.75.  While it’s not a HUGE payday, I think we will actually do better than that so long as I really drive hard to meet my improvement budget.

Before Pictures:

BtW: Week #5

IMG_9318

 

BtW was a massive fail this week.  No only did we have sub-zero temperatures, we were also forecast to get 1″ of snow.  The picture above is from Thursday evening.  The snow continued to fall into Friday morning.  Friday was cloudy with no snow, but Friday night/Saturday morning the snow started again.  Again, we are forecast to ‘only’ receive 1″ of additional accumulation.  I just finished shoveling 3″ off of my driveway (7am Saturday morning).

Needless to say, I didn’t bike to work at all this week.  Not one single day.

On Wednesday, I had had enough, so I decided to play hooky from work for an hour or so and went for a hike on some of my most favorite trails in PA in Rothrock State Forest.  It had been so cold on Wednesday morning (-19degF in some areas) that when I got out of my car, I thought the local temperatures had warmed up a bit, so I hiked in a wool sweater, down vest and a ball cap.  The hike was beautiful.  Clear blue skies, bright sun, white snow.  Some of the local streams were still flowing, casting off some mist that quickly froze to form really neat ice formations.

IMG_20140212_121014568 IMG_20140212_122125607_HDR

 

By the end of my hike, I was feeling a little cold but had a great hike.  I turned on my car and the car’s thermometer was reading 12degF.  Certainly not warm, but on a relative scale, almost 30 degrees warmer than -19!

I love to run in the snow, so when the forecast called for 1″ of snow on Thursday, I figured I would go run the trails in Rothrock.  By the time I got to Rothrock, there were almost 6″ of snow on the ground.  The run was great, but I was sore on Friday.  Here’s a pic from the end of the run:

IMG_20140213_123249177_HDR

 

Here’s to hoping BtW#6 is a much more active week.

 

How I saved $200 on my CSA membership

Credit Card Cash Back

 

I generally despise credit cards.  They are financial quicksand.  No matter how quickly you think you can pay them back, there is that ever present sucking sound as those damn cards continue to suck hard earned cash out of your bank account.  The sales pitch is always “Hey, we’ll give you 2% back on everything you spend!”  The card companies know that they’ll give 2% so long as they have you at 20% APR, or an eighteen point spread!  Eighteen points cash-on-cash is crazy.  I am generally willing to invest for 15% cash on cash return.

Well, I’m flirting with the devil.  We received an invitation in the mail to get a new credit card with a $200 signing bonus.  We needed to spend $500 within the first three months of having the card and we would receive 20,000 points, which is redeemable for $200.

I signed on the dotted line.  I knew we needed to purchase our CSA share for the summer.  For those of you that don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  We essentially prepay a farmer to produce our produce for a set period of time.  It is sort of an insurance policy for farmers.  They have their cash up front, so regardless of the year, they know they won’t lose the farm in the winter.

At the beginning of this year, we set a budget for all of 2014.  We knew we were going to purchase a CSA share this year, so I knew how much to set aside on a monthly basis so we were ready for the purchase.  Well, the credit card offer came along, and the ‘early bird special’ came for the CSA, a perfect match for the 2014 frugal budget.

I paid the $750 for the CSA (Yes, it’s a LOT of veggies…but it’s still expensive).  After paying for the CSA, I destroyed the card, so I can’t use it for anything else.  I was a little nervous waiting for the 20,000 points to post to my account as no communication from the Chase card services mentioned anything about the points except the initial teaser.  Well, we received our statement today and I actually eagerly opened the envelope and found…20,000 points applied to  my account, redeemable for $200.

The $200 will be applied to the CSA payment, for a net-out-of-pocket of $550 for the CSA.  Not too bad.

Abundance Thinking vs. Scarcity Thinking

Cash from bike

Abundant or Scarce?

My work (day job) has been rough for the past 18 months or so.  The business experienced some growing pains, resulting in several layoffs, a pay freeze and a pay cut.  Originally, I was living with a Scarcity Mentality…”Well, if he makes an additional $500/year, that’s $500 less that I can make”.  I was fearful of not being able to do what I want to do in life.  When most of the upheaval began at work, I decided that I could either be bitter (which I was for a while), or I could take work for what it was (a good job) and design my life to be what I want it to be.  The only way to do so was through Abundance Thinking.

I always reminded myself of when my wife and I were first married.  We made about $15/hour, combined income, and we felt like we were living like a king and queen.  I always wondered how it was possible to feel that good, while not making much money.  Part of it was because we were newly-weds and it’s very easy to practice Abundance Thinking when everything is new and exciting in life, but part of it was simply because life is abundant if you’re willing to watch and listen.

For years, my parents would discuss an ‘abundant mentality’.  As a kid, I never really understood what they meant by an “Abundance Mentality”.  I then read about Abudance Thinking vs. Scarcity Thinking in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, and still the concept failed to sink into my thick skull.  Finally, after my wife and I decided to really take charge of our finances did the concept of Abundance Thinking finally catch hold.

In Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits, he defines the Scarcity Mentality and Abundance Mentality as follows:

“Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality.  They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there, and if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.  The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.  People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production.  They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.

“The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security.  It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.  It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making.  It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.”

I have found that by practicing Abundance Thinking, my wife and I are more content with our lives and we are actually enjoying life more now while spending significantly less.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still many things we want to do that we are unable to afford currently, but with our new Abundance Mentality, none of our goals feel like pipe dreams any longer.

My wife hates budgets (I find them kind of fun, just difficult to stick to).  In order to make our budget more fun, my wife created a “Frugal Fun Calendar“.  The calendar is full of either free, or very low cost activities/items that we can do/purchase each month.  We didn’t know what to put in the calendar and we actually stressed about not having enough to do in a month.  We settled on about 18 different activities for each month.  We thought it wasn’t going to be enough.

BOY WERE WE WRONG.

Through our first month of the Frugal Fun Calendar, we learned that we have so many options and so many ways to interact as a family that we actually couldn’t do all that we had planned when we started the month.  On Jan 1, we thought we would be bored, with too many days of nothing to do.  But by Jan 31, we had only completed about 3/4 of what we had planned and we felt the days were just packed.  Only by practicing Abundance Thinking have we been able to enjoy all that is available to us locally.

One interesting mental shift that has occurred is that now, rather than simply spend money on something like we used to do, we actually don’t even want to spend the money anymore.  It just doesn’t seem worth it when we have so much to do without spending money.  I used to be a bookaholic and my wife used to chastise me because my mom is the director of a library (although she has a bad book habit as well…).  I used to buy a book once a month or so.

Since we’ve been practicing Abundance Thinking, I’m finding that the library has a HUGE selection, and (as long as I return the books on time), they’re free.  In addition to the town’s library, we have a HUGE University library system that we can access.

Lastly, Abundance Thinking has actually made us happier.  Rather than fretting about what we can’t buy because we don’t have enough money, we are able to slow down and realize how much we have and that we don’t need to buy those other things.  I admit that it helps that we spent every last penny (and then some) in our past life and purchased some really nice clothes, kitchen equipment, etc.  With proper care, those items will last most of our lives and will generally remain stylish.

If you aren’t actively practicing Abundance Thinking, I encourage you to give it a try.  Set a specific time period, say 4 months.  Go cold turkey and force yourself to maintain the Abundance Thinking lifestyle for those four month.  You may have to kick the multiple-Starbuck-per-day habit and make your own coffee.  You may have to make lunch for yourself before work.  Consider walking or biking to work.

If you’re not happier, go back to your old life style, it’s not difficult, but I would bet you may enjoy the Abundance of life more than you think.

BtW: Week #4

Trusty Steed

Hoo boy this week was a rough week.  I knew it was going to be cold this week, but intended to bundle up and ride through the cold.  I wasn’t prepared for the snow.  I closed on the house I’m flipping on Monday.  The lawyer’s office is all of 1.5 miles away.  Even in the car, it took me nearly 10 minutes to get there!  By Wednesday, the roads had mostly cleared, except for the freezing rain we received Tuesday night…another busted bike day.  Thursday I was able to get a ride from a coworker, so I saved a little money.  Friday I had to be at the Shop and it was damn cold, the bike trails were all snowed/iced over and I needed to pick up some tools…another busted bike day.  Altogether a weak showing for my BtW goal.

BtW Week 4 Stats:
Miles Biked: 0
Car Miles Saved: 14.2 (my coworker picked me up)
Gallons of Gas: .68
Dollar value of Gas: $2.35

 

2013 Financial Freedom Recap

IMG_20130917_120553_028  Poppy Flower_Small

 

2013 was a year of hard work and hard play (typical engineering mantra).  In addition to my regular day job, I spent approximately 600 hours working on UFUO#2 and only a few hours working on my personal residence.  In addition, I started this blog (a little bit of work), we took a trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth, St. John, USVI, spent two weeks in Maine, and spent another long weekend in Maine and New Hampshire.  We ran in two half marathons (destroyed my knee in the 2nd half marathon and am still recovering from that), went on numerous hikes with the dogs, learned how to make bread (dough hook on a stand mixer is KEY), STILL haven’t figured out how to make my own wine, and lastly had a mustache for a weekend.

Small Mustache

 

I was able to purchase two duplexes in 2013, adding to my passive income from real estate, although the 600 hours invested in the one duplex didn’t seem ‘passive’ at times!  Because of the rehab on the duplex, my cash reserves were virtually tapped out, and still I was trying to purchase rental properties locally.  I figured that as I added properties, cash flow would slowly improve, which would add to the cash reserves.

I have determined that that premise isn’t wrong, I just need to stretch out my purchases.  Like bread dough, I need to let my personal dough rise.

At the end of 2013, I had two offers out to sellers: one was for a property to flip and another was for a fully rented duplex.  You can read all about  my offer on the duplex in my “Unique Financing” post.  It was a cool deal, but ultimately a few issues came to the surface and I felt it was best to let that deal sail away.

The other property is a single family home in need of a moderate amount of rehab.  For this property, I have partnered with some family friends.  They put up the cash and I manage the rehab.  For me, this is an awesome deal.  The loan is interest only with the principle being paid back when the property is sold (interest is due monthly; I’ll be posting a detailed write up shortly).

In 2014, I plan to devote significant portions of my take home cash, both passive cash flow as well as ‘earned’ income to the purchase of more assets for additional passive income.  Rather than increase the amount of time it takes me to manage my properties, I plan to work with a turnkey investment firm to locate properties currently under management with low barrier to entry (low down payments) and high cash flow potential.

2013 by the numbers:

Passive Income from REI: $710/month
“Fee” for Self-Managed Properties: $270/month
Dividend Income: $7/month (1.5 coffees)

Total Passive Income: $987/month